Queen’s Birthday 2019 Honours List

Queen Elizabeth II’s annual awards have been announced for people who perform outstanding work in their communities. This year, on her 93rd birthday, the Queen has recognized several people, including the Buddhist teacher, Ajahn Brahm for their work.

Ajahn Brahm received an award, appointing him as a Member of the Order of Australia. According to the information issued by the nation, he received the award for “significant service to Buddhism, and to gender equality.”

Brahm is no stranger to recognition, being a dedicated Buddhist that has tried to spread the word of the religion’s beliefs for several years. He has focused on teaching the “Forest Tradition” of Buddhism and has founded one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in Australia.

His Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia was the site of the first ordination of nuns into the Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism, something that drew a severe reaction from the individuals in charge of the governing body of the faith. They expelled Brahm from the Wat Pa Phong Sangha because he “reneged on commitments implicit in his ownership of a Thai monastic passport, his role as abbot of a Wat Pa Phong branch monastery, his position as an officially sanctioned preceptor, and his acceptance of the Jow Khun title.” In other words, his inclusiveness of women cost him his position within the traditional Buddhist temples in which he operated

Brahm did not stop there, earning him the recognition of the Queen of England and the celebration by many of his contemporaries. Presently, Brahm is attempting to bring Buddhism to the U.K. under his leadership in the Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project. Unlike the other temples in which people worship, the one that is being described for this expansion is welcoming to women that wish to seek ordination within Buddhism.

The project is well underway, and Brahm is pursuing the creation of a monastery to reflect the new belief system. All in all, it appears as though Brahm’s Member of the Order of Australia award is well deserved. He managed to support the rights of women in the Buddhist sect even though it ultimately affected him. The pursuit of inclusivity and righteousness in the face of adversity, especially in the face of an old religious system, is admirable. Along with his fellow recipients of awards, Ajahn Brahm is a true trailblazer.

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